The British National Curriculum

The National Curriculum of England, Wales and Northern Ireland is an educational framework introduced in the United Kingdom in 1988 for pupils aged from 5 to 16 years old. Subsequently, additional programmes were added for children aged from 3 to 5 years old. The National Curriculum allows each school to adapt the framework to suit their particular requirements, establishing the content, objectives and evaluation and assessment methods that must be adopted, but encouraging flexibility of application. Each school is therefore able to use the programmes in the way that suits them best, in order to ensure that the needs of all their pupils are met in the most appropriate way.

British schools in Spain can opt to teach only the subjects that form part of the National Curriculum or can add subjects in, dependent upon regional requirements, to ensure that students are in compliance with all local and national regulations. At St. George’s English School Bilbao, we follow the British National Curriculum in its entirety and additionally teach Basque, Spanish Language and Social Sciences (Sociales). Apart from these three subjects, all other subjects are taught in English by highly-qualified and experienced native teachers, specifically trained in the teaching techniques and content required by the National Curriculum.

Find out more about the British National Curriculum on the UK Government’s webpages

Advantages of the British Curriculum

The main difference between the Spanish and British education systems is that the British system focuses on developing intrinsic and transferable skills rather than memorising content.  The British curriculum provides a fun, practical, creative and interactive teaching and learning framework that focuses on encouraging students to become confident and independent thinkers and equipping them with the capacity to adapt successfully to the demands of an ever-changing world. The system prioritises decision-making and problem-solving skills, helping pupils to learn how to learn, teaching them to be intellectually agile and able to naturally adapt and develop their knowledge and understanding in line with the changes that they face.

The British Curriculum also employs a system of continuous assessment, which provides a detailed and ongoing overview of each student’s progress and development, avoiding the necessity of preparing students for an intense period of testing and examination at the end of each course. Class sizes are small, and this enables our teachers to pay close attention to each individual pupil and to ensure that their needs are appropriately met.  In this way, we are able to devise clear learning pathways for each child and to plan the support and guidance they require to meet their academic and personal goals. Students following the British Curriculum can access universities throughout Spain, Europe, the USA and the rest of the world.

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